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Is Corn Starch Bad For You?

Also Known As: cornstarch, cornflour, maize starch



Short answer

Corn starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate that is used mainly as a liquid thickener in gravies, soups, sauces, glazes, pies and desserts. Because most corn starch is derived from genetically modified corn it is not good for you. There are healthy corn starch alternatives so those choices are better for you.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Pure corn starch is a popular cooking ingredient that adds thickness to liquids. It is gluten free which has it made it popular since 1 in 200 people are gluten sensitive. Corn starch is a carbohydrate that is extracted from the endosperm of the corn-which is just beneath the outer shell of the kernel.  The endosperm is ground up into the white powder-which is your corn starch.  This highly processed carbohydrate contributes calories to our diet but has negligible amounts of fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.  It has limited nutritional value except to add more glucose to your diet.  And to make matters worse, corn starch is used to make high fructose corn syrup.

Because most corn starch comes from genetically modified corn it is reasonable to touch on this destructive subject.  Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are created in the laboratory by modifying their DNA to “make them stronger, more resistant to pesticides and insecticides, grow faster with a higher yield and have better aesthetics.”  Unfortunately what has happened to crops-like corn and soy-is that they are sprayed indiscriminately with deadly insecticides and pesticides. This leads to more and more toxicity entering our food chain.  Animals that are raised for consumption are eating GMO plants that are laden with dangerous pesticides.  We, in turn, eat the animals-and thus this chain of events continues as the GMO farmers and animal factory farmers continue to introduce more and more poison into our population. 

Studies on GMO’s and lab animals show a rise in organ damage, DNA damage, allergic reactions and abnormal behavior.  There is continued concern that as GMO crops continue to flourish - chronic inflammatory diseases, degenerative diseases, obesity and malignancies in humans will continue to escalate.

Because corn starch is used in some topical preparations you may be using a powder or cosmetic product that is also manufactured using genetically modified corn.  There are also many consumable products sold premade in grocery stores that already have corn starch in them.  To name a few:

  • Puddings and Yogurts
  • Syrups
  • Canned gravies
  • Shortbread or shortbread-like snack items 
  • Brownies, cookies, doughnuts, cakes and pies
  • Biscuits, rolls, bagels and most bread products
  • Hamburger and sausage patties
  • Frostings or fillings
  • Cold cereals
  • Juices and soft drinks


But let’s not forget that corn starch is used to make HFCS and there are thousands of items that contain this ingredient. 

Possible short-term side effects

  • gi upset with constipation

Possible long-term side effects

  • elevated glucose levels
  • weight gain
  • elevated blood pressure
  • amlophagia (eating large amounts of corn starch in pregnancy-can lead to abnormalities in the baby’s developmental process, premature delivery, c-section delivery and a high birth weight)
  • toxicity from genetically modified corn starch


  • gluten-free
  • calorie booster for people that need weight gain
  • elevate glucose in people that have low glucose levels and a treatment for glycogen storage disease (inherited metabolic disorder)
  • energy source

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Arrowroot Starch/Flour

  • Gluten-free alternative
  • Vegetable-based thickener
  • Grain-free flour
  • Versatile cooking use
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 12-19-2017
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Dr. Becky Maes
Published on: 12-19-2017
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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